RENO, Nev. — One of the questions I’m frequently asked when speaking with business owners is: “Should I really be on Instagram?”
For the uninitiated, Instagram is a visuals-first social media platform where users can share photos and videos. Originally launched in 2010 on iPhones only, this is the app where image filters first became popular.
Now owned by Facebook, Instagram has since seen exponential growth. As of June 2018, the social network reported more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, and Instagram’s daily active users came in at 500 million, according to Statista.
It’s also been updating its features at a frenzied pace the past couple years as it battles Snapchat for younger users. As of January 2018, Instagram boasted a mostly younger audience, with 68 percent being 34 years old or younger.
As such, here are five reasons why you should consider promoting your brand on Instagram:
1. Visual content is everything and a bag of chips
Am I dating myself with the “bag of chips” reference? Either way, the trend in social media marketing over the past several years has been visuals, visuals, visuals.
The push toward visual content has been audience-driven, for sure. The average person is more likely to look at a photo or watch a video than read a message. And social media usage data across platforms reflects that.
By 2016, two-thirds of marketers were saying visual assets are critical to communicating their brand, according to eMarketer. Now, the conversation is all about visuals.
Instagram users can only post visual content. Visuals are that platform’s native language. Now, factor in Instagram’s audience reach and continuing growth. It’s a match made in social media marketing heaven (if there is such a place).
Still not convinced? Four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it, according to Animoto, and 76.5 percent of marketers and small business owners who have used video marketing told Animoto it had a direct impact on their business.
2. You may be on Instagram already … are you in control?
Don’t believe me? Search for yourself on Instagram and see if your product or business location isn’t already being posted about. You can thank geotags and hashtags for the already-existing presence.
Instagram users likely are already talking about you in some way. Do you like what you see?
Even if you do, the control you have over your brand’s image on this social network is entirely out of your hands. And while you can’t control what others post about you, you can be engaged in the conversation and help shape it as well.
3. Be on top of the latest trends
And I’m not talking about trying to be trending in and of itself. The key to any successful social media presence is authenticity.
But trends really do break on Instagram, and you can be the first to turn a profit on them — if you’re paying attention.
Keep an eye on your business category on Instagram. It won’t be long before you get familiar with the hashtags related to your industry. And once you’re familiar, you’ll have insight into customer preference and perhaps even what your competition is doing right (or wrong).
4. Like it or not, an Instagram account helps legitimize your business
A business can’t get away with just a website anymore. Not these days. Customers (and potential customers) will look for you on their native platform, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
But before I give you the impression that you should be on every social platform, though, let me say this: Master one platform first before branching out to more. Having a languishing Instagram account because all your time is spent on Facebook isn’t going to help you in any way either.
Being purposeful about your social presence (on any and all platforms) vastly increases your “street cred” with your audience. For example, would you trust a salon that posts daily before-after photos as well as tips and advice or a salon with a static link that shows a phone number and business hours?
5. Discoverability is a thing on Instagram
Unlike Snapchat, which only recently has rolled out some features that help users possibly (emphasis on possibly) find you, Instagram is largely an open platform where posts (and users) connect and discover each other through hashtags.
In fact, users can now follow specific hashtags in their Instagram feed. It only helps to have a frequent appearance.
But it’s not all about reaching more and more people endlessly, Instagram enables your business to build an engaged community by interacting with users regularly on the platform. An engaged community is the first step to brand loyalty.
And if you have brand loyalty among your customers, you have a strong business for years to come.
Caren Roblin is Director of Content at Sierra Nevada Media Group, which publishes the Northern Nevada Business View. You can contact her at email@example.com.